Red Bull keeps the F1 world waiting

For the second year running the Red Bull team have elected to skip the first official pre-season test  held at Valencia on February 1st-3rd

Like last year the team are saying that they would rather have extra time in the wind tunnel to further improve the cars areodynamic efficiency rather than on track running.  However, that was a understandable justification last year when the rules and regulations had been turned upside down and the more time the teams spent in the factory seemed the best idea.

Red Bull where one of the last few teams to launch their car last year and when they did it came with widespread acclaim that Adrian Newey and his team had brought along some interesting design details, many of which the rest of the F1 teams seemed to acknowledge as superior to their own.  Detail like the high raised nose and pull-rod rear suspension. The RB5 is thought to have been the best overall design in 2009 despite the Brawn getting a 6 race advantage with the double defuser, and many teams are expected to replicate some of the RB5 designs in to their 2010 cars.  Already there is gossip about Ferrari having a car that looks very similar, as reported on James Allens F1 Blog and with an image on The Art of Formula 1’s website

Is there more to the story here or is wind tunnel running better than actual physical testing?  I suppose the more you prepare the better results will be, but by missing Valencia the team will only give themselves 12 full days of running, and with the current climate in Europe being so cold and wet, one wonders how many full dry days the team might get in before travelling to Bahrain.  A Cynical view could be that Red Bull are trying to keep wraps on their RB6 design for as long as possible allowing the teams even less time to catch any of the new detail on the Red Bull and have their own interpretations on their cars ready for the fly away races in mid March.

An interesting game of cat and mouse, or is F1 moving away from days of testing at circuits to days in the wind tunnel running complex equations? Being a bit of a traditionalist I hope it’s the former.

USF1 given extra test days

Somehow the new American based USF1 team has been granted 2 extra straight-line test days because of their “Geographic location” as reported on Autosport today.

But why I ask? The team appear to be claiming they need the running before travelling to Europe to start their proper testing campaign. That just doesn’t make sense, for they can carry out straight-line tests before they travel to Europe in the USA out of their allotted 4 days (The same every team has)

Are the FIA giving special dispensation to them because they are based in America, or because perhaps the team are running behind in its schedule and won’t be ready by the time the first teams roll out in Valencia.

I have not heard Lotus, Campus or Virgin asking for extra days, and it seems unfair to me that the USF1 team are being given extra time to gather data for their car.